A happy customer equals a repeat customer—or so we've thought. This common assumption drives most traditional methods of promoting patient loyalty, such as discount goods and standout customer service.
But patient experience is only the first step in convincing patients to return for future care. Unless the barriers to returning are lower than the barriers to seeking care elsewhere, even the most satisfied patients may leave.
In order to capture a patient's full value across multiple care visits and maximize share of patient wallet, today's growth strategists need to implement a comprehensive loyalty framework. This study provides that framework and the keys to reducing barriers to return.
Patient satisfaction doesn't reduce barriers to return
Research has demonstrated a link between patient satisfaction and health care quality, but the link between satisfaction and loyalty is weak. The International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance's recent study found that a one-half point increase in satisfaction on a five-point Likert scale lead to only a 1.2% increase in patient loyalty.
The same factors that could prevent a patient from seeking care at another organization—needing to research which providers offer which services, locate an office, or schedule an appointment—can apply to your organization as well. So while a good patient experience can give your hospital an advantage, it won't make returning any easier and ultimately won't move the dial on patient loyalty.
To reduce these barriers and ensure satisfied patients return, providers must account for three prerequisites to patient loyalty: patients must know to seek a given service, want to get care, and think to return to you. The loyalty framework outlined below focuses on these three keys to winning loyalty and growing share of patient wallet.
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